Just a quick update on PKG's "Knit Nights," our monthly meet up to discuss our thoughts and experiences on racism and other social justice issues in the knitting community.
First, we now want to call this meet up Conscious Conversations. This reflects what we want to promote and what we strive to do. For knitters who are engaged in social media, who use Ravelry, who go to yarn shops, who...well, knit, we set aside a night each month to allow both members and non-members to share thoughts, feelings, and experiences.
Second, we have a new meeting time and place. Please join us the last Monday each month, 6:30 to 8:30 at New Seasons Seven Corners cafe.
So, if you've been wanting to talk in person with other knitters who have been following Ravelry's news, discovering or wanting to support more BIPOC knitters, and just want to self-reflect through conversation about race, gender, personal politics, and more with other knitters, please come. :)
From member Anna Manayan:
A support group has started for the Master Knitter Program Level 1 by TKGA (The Knitting Guild Association). A table at the Puddletown monthly guild meeting is set up for our enrollees to meet at 6pm, before the regular guild meeting. The purpose of the support group is to offer encouragement, support and accountability for those enrolled in this awesome program.
TKGA started the Master Knitter program in 1987 as a means to help educate knitters to improve their skills. You do not need to have any goal of teaching or designing; just the simple goal of taking your knitting to the next level. Specific goals and criteria were created by TKGA that include knitting swatches, answering questions and completing a couple of projects.
Level 1 has a time completion of one year. It includes 19 swatches, 4 gauge worksheets, 22 questions, a mitten, references that serve as a guild for your future knitting library, and questions and answers about blocking. Your work is sent to a designated committee member from TKGA for review. There is no limit during the year of your enrollment on the number of swatches you can do or re-do if needed.
A few members have completed the entire Master Knitting Program, Level 1, 2 & 3. In speaking with them, they have all said that the program has taken their knitting to the next level! How wonderful that is to improve our confidence and skill as knitters so that we can take on those projects that we dream of!
You can enroll anytime for Level 1’s one year program; however, how nice it would be to enroll now so that we can all begin together. Go to TKGA’s site to join here https://tkga.org/membership/ Once you join you will receive an email giving you login information. Once you log in, you can then enroll in the level 1 program. You can then print the 33 page instruction sheet for the course and bring it along with your “swatch” in progress at the next guild meeting.
Besides our guild as support, Puddletown has a ravelry group to facilitate this program for our members as well as TKGA, which has an official ravelry group for the course. I am looking forward to sharing the enthusiasm of embracing this course with our Puddletown Guild members!
Thank you Celeste Percy for giving us a glimpse inside of the Black Sheep Gathering festival Sheep to Shawl Contest!
Each July in rural Oregon, Black Sheep Gathering brings together fiber enthusiasts, ranchers, farmers, and festival goers for a weekend. There are sheep and Angora goat shows, arts and yarn shows, and even fleece shows. One of the most compelling is the Sheep to Shawl contest. Celeste runs the content, and talked us through how it works.
Five spinners and one weaver in each team of the Sheep to Shawl content work together to create a 1,440 square inch (or larger) woven shawl within five hours. Spinners start with washed, unprocessed fleece which is spin for the weaver to immediately incorporate into their warped and tied loom. You can imagine the tension as the weaver waits for the freshly spun wool.
One of the rules of the finished shawl is that there may be no "white" colored yarn used. Participants use the un-dyed, natural wool spun during the contest and other yarn of their choosing that meets the fiber content requirements.
Of course, everything must only be done by hand. The only electrical equipment allowed by each team is a personal light if needed.
Participants are invited to the Black Sheep Fiber closing night potluck dinner and to model their masterpieces at the animal show.
Have you been to Black Sheep Gathering or even participated in Sheep to Shawl? Be sure to visit the festival this July 4th weekend, July 5-7 at the Linn County Expo Center in Albany, Oregon. Puddletown Knitters Guild will be there the 6th and 7th with project bag patterns to give away.
Thank you again, Celeste!
If you follow knitting personalities, people, groups, and hashtags at all on Instagram, you must have noticed more content in the last six months about a hard topic: that in every aspect of our lives, racism is present. And, our knitting community isn't immune. This article sums up what occurred. BIPOC (black, indigenous, people of color) knitters all over the world have shared experiences on Instagram of being ignored or condescended to at local yarn shops, of feeling uncomfortable being the only brown person in a knitting group, of being told "I didn't think black people knit." This isn't the kind of knitting community we want.
To provide a brave space for Portland knitters to talk, share, work out, and learn in person, we set up Knit Nights. We've been meeting every second Monday at FUMC. From August onward, we are considering new times and places to make it easier for people who are already booked on Mondays; look out for updates.
For those of you nervous about attending: please consider coming. Yes, it may be awkward at first. And, yes, we definitely want you to feel like you can join us.
It's awkward enough for some people to come into a new social group when the topic isn't about personal politics, deep self-reflection, and racism.
âBut, we're a friendly and supportive group. We also talk about fun things. We laugh. We knit while we talk and talk about our knitting. Conversations meander. Many questions are asked rather than assumptions made. Challenges may be posed, but it's all up to you how you want to proceed or not. We're all vulnerable, we're all here for each other. No one will make you talk if you just want to sit, knit, and listen.
Know that you're welcome and we appreciate you.
So, what have we been talking about at Knit Night? Here is a short summary in which we tried to capture some highlights, soundbites, and thought-provoking points. We hope that you bookmark this post to go back to when you need some grounding, some ideas, some help, and some guidance.
Each meeting, we try to come out with a "homework assignment" to spark discussion for the next meeting, like question prompts or reading suggestions. Here are some examples:
Make time to read/listen to a resource from our compiled list:
This list should be editable and sharable by anyone!
What common history do you remember learning in school that you later discovered had a different perspective?
What are some local organizations that are asking for knitting supplies for marginalized people?
Knitting was an easy access point to start putting action into a problem brewing for centuries.
A few conversation topics had:
How social media helps expose and challenge our awareness outside of our "bubbles". Some of us grumble about how the Internet can be a negative place, but member Carol Hanna made a great point that it's also an opportunity to discover ideas and people in a good way. What do you think about that?
The democracy of knitting vs. exclusivity. Knitting can be an expensive hobby. What are some more economically inclusive ways to enjoy this hobby? Thrifting sweaters for their yarn? Upcycling/recycling other yarn? Alternative yarns?
While the Guild extends an invitation to anyone, not everyone has the ability to come. Transportation, child care, and other practical/logistical things can be bigger challenges to our neighbors than we assume. Different cultures may have different definitions of child care, for example. How do we be as inclusive as possible while providing a great experience?
Knitting was an easy access put action into a problem brewing for centuries. It's fortunate for us, as knitters, right here, right now, to be a part of the conversation and to take action. Why has it been the knitting community and not golf, yoga, or "white dominated" communities? Surely, other communities have. What are some examples?
A Few Links of Interest
When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir,
Portland writer Mitchell Jackson: https://www.mitchellsjackson.com
A Reading List for Ralph Northam: https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/02/antiracist-syllabus-governor-ralph-northam/582580/
About Vanport, a forgotten Portland place (especially for transplants: https://www.pdx.edu/ourhistory/vanport-city
One of the MANY conversations that have happened on Instagram:
Black artists of Portland: http://oregonhumanities.org/rll/beyond-the-margins/black-mark-black-legend/?fbclid=IwAR1HaOWEf58K-xeE9cCsS9zVTVr0oGjqlSV6emiHnUfy3Jiq5hp5brUJQpI
Waking Up White by Debby Irving (a self-described WASP's tough self-reflection and learning experience): http://www.debbyirving.com/the-book/
Kristy Glass Knits This Is Us! A Fiber Friends Conversation. (A disarming and greatly informative conversation): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvLwaANQAM4&t=2106s
More historically accurate documentary about Victor Green (recently highlighted in the Hollywood film The Green Book: https://www.smithsonianchannel.com/shows/the-green-book-guide-to-freedom/0/3467847
Regarding Vanport, OPB has an excellent documentary: https://www.opb.org/television/programs/oregonexperience/segment/vanport/
Seth Myers' "White Savior" skit: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1215682811924361
Good Ancestor: http://laylafsaad.com/good-ancestor-podcast
Seeing White: https://www.sceneonradio.org/seeing-white/
Black music by black artists from black Portland: https://thenumberz.fm
Comment with your suggestions for what to read/listen to/watch, and let us know what topics you'd like us to discuss. Please comment with your questions, as well. Hope to see you soon!
In our May meeting, we learned first hand what it means for patterns to be "tech edited" from the Unapologetic Knitter, Meaghan Schmaltz. Meaghan gave a compelling and fun presentation that instilled great value in this necessary step to a well-received pattern.
Why is Meaghan so unapologetic? She believes knitting is an art form that should be nurtured. Just go for it! And, being from Canada and all, as she facetiously told us, saying "sorry" is just a thing.
As a knitter and designer herself, Meaghan's patterns are perfect TV-knitting projects, making them accessible to many levels.
As an editor, Meaghan is detail-oriented and incredibly learned. Beginning her career in 2015, Meaghan works for such clients as Andrea Mowry. Having taken a course in size grading (writing patterns for many garment sizes from just one sample size), Meaghan has skills not only in pattern creation, but grammar and writing as well.
Tech editing is so much more than just making sure the pattern is right. It's ensuring it makes sense and that it's clear and consistent. Meaghan will not only correct grammar and help craft better writing, but she'll check and correct the math, too. So, aspiring designers who may be intimidated by math, take notes!
Thank you, Meaghan, for enlightening us on this little discussed phase in the life of knitting patterns!
Join us next month for our June 13th meeting! Celeste Percy will be there to tell us all the ins and outs of the sheep to shawl contest held at the annual Black Sheep Gathering.
We had a lovely time with the charming Marie Greene, a.k.a. Olive Knits. It was a treat to have it in the big, beautiful sanctuary of Fremont United Methodist Church.
Marie's program, "You Are the Boss of Your Sweater," encouraged us to explore ways to whip our sweater game into shape when we're finding ourselves with multiple unfinished sweater projects. And yes, you still have to swatch!
'Purls' of wisdom from Marie:
It's Okay to have multiple projects going if you need different types of projects for different activities. For Guild meetings, isn't it easier to just fly by sleeve island and keep your lace shawls at home?
It's Okay to frog!
Consider finishing work (edges for picking up collars, for example) throughout your project so when you're ready for the finishing steps, your knitting will be ready.
It's just knitting. Did you mess up? Knit 2 together and move on!
A wonderful group who wore their Olive Knits sweaters for the event!
Some of our gorgeous Show and Tell projects.
Thank you Marie Greene for coming to Portland and sharing your insights with us!
We'll see you next time, May 9th, for the Unapologetic Knitter Meaghan Schmaltz who will tell us all about what happens with patterns from inception to being in your hands.
We had a unique and super fun meeting this March! Emme and Samantha of the Stitch & Stir knitting podcast hosted and recorded an episode. Thank you so much Emme and Samantha for sharing your beautiful knits, embracing our "knitting confessions" (be proud of your knitting confessions!) and playing a game of Gimme Gimme complete with prizes!
Check it out and be sure to subscribe:
Join us next month, April 11, to see Marie Green, a.k.a. Olive Knits, present "You Are the Boss of Your Sweater."
Please note: we will be in our normal meeting space at 6 for social knitting and so that you may purchase Marie's new book, Seamless Knit Sweaters in 2 Weeks, but we will host the presentation in the church's sanctuary. If you purchase Marie's book ahead of time, you may be able to get her to sign it before or after the meeting.
See you next time!
This month, Emily Devlin brought her sock experience and expertise to our program. We had a visit from Rose City Yarn Crawl, and recapped our first Diversity Knit Nights.
Rose City Yarn Crawl
Three board members of the Rose City Yarn Crawl (RCYC) spoke to us about the annual event that celebrates Portland area local yarn shops. It's coming March 7 - 10.
Owners from Close Knit (a yarn crawl regular), Blizzard Yarn and Fiber of Vancouver, WA and Knotty Lamb of Forest Grove (two new shops on the crawl), drummed up excitement over this March's crawl. The crawl includes a passport you can print out and get stamped at each shop. Complete passports can be submitted to the grand raffle. Each shop also has a few raffles for giveaway. There's a whopping total of 66 raffle prizes! Shops remain open longer hours so that crawlers can have more chances to visit.
Be sure to check out their daily events to see what trunk shows are happening at the shops. This year's RCYC tote was designed by the daughter of Close Knit owner Sally, and it's a cute one! They'll be for sale in limited quantities at the shops.
Diversity Knit Night
This past Monday, we hosted our first "Diversity Knit Night." Five guild members attended, including two board members (Board President Margaret and Communications Chair Angela) and business member Lori Patterson of Abstract Fiber.
Our goal with these knitting gatherings is to provide a space for interested individuals to discuss how to better include black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) in the guild and Portland's greater fiber community. We hope to foster a supportive atmosphere; we're here for each other.
At the end of each knit night, we aim to leave with an action item. For this first meeting, we started an ongoing list of free educational resources (literature, podcasts, videos, etc.) as well as Makers of Color to follow on social media. Each of us will chose a resource to discuss at the next meeting. View or add to the list here.
We are also wanting to discuss what we can contribute to events like World Knit in Public Day, groups or clubs to invite to PKG meetings, charity opportunities, and other ideas you have.
We meet the 2nd Monday of each month at Fremont United Methodist Church in the Bob Nelson room, through the front doors of the church off of Fremont. 6:30 pm. This is a less formal gathering than the meetings, so feel free to join when and if you can. Non-guild members are welcome. We are looking into how this might translate to a Facebook or other digital group for those who can't make it in person. Next meeting is March 11 at 6:30 pm.
Why does Emily Devlin (Fairweather Knitter) love to knit socks? A myriad of reasons, not limited to their customizable character. Emily walked us through every piece of a sock and the advantages of each decision one can make when knitting their own socks.
There are 9 main decisions that one can make when starting socks:
1. Yarn: thickness, twist, and fiber content. A tighter twist and a wool blend with silk or nylon usually yield a sturdier sock. You can also reinforce areas of your sock that wear down most on you.
2. Gauge: Emily recommends a dense gauge for better durability. If you don't do a gauge swatch, be sure to try on the sock as you go. If you do knit a gauge swatch, knit one using an I-cord-like technique with loose floats in back to obtain a swatch more similar to the in-the-round result.
3. Needles: Do you do double-pointed, magic loop, or two circulars? If you suffer from "second-sock syndrome", try the magic loop method on extra-long circular needles so that you can knit both socks at the same time. If you simply want a stockinette knit, you can zoom around on very short circular needles. For DPN fans, maybe the addi FlexiFlips appeal?
4. Direction: Are you on the toe-up team or the cuff-down committee? Deciding where to start can be determined in part by how you wish to bind off.
5. Heels: The richest information on sock anatomy is certainly in the heel. There are many choices, and some of them are dependent on the direction you are knitting. Types of heels include:
6. Toes: Depending on how you want the toe of the sock to look or fit, and depending on where you start (toe-up or cuff-down) there is the Wedge, Round, or Spiral that is like the top of a hat.
7. Cuffs: Stretch is key when it comes to cuffs. When you cast on at the cuff, consider going beyond the long-tail cast on and trying stretchier techniques like the Old Norwegian (also known as German Twisted) and the tubular cast ons.
For toe-up socks, stretchy bind offs to consider are: Tubular or Kitchener, Doubled or Russian, Sewn, and Jeny's Surprisingly Stretchy. Whichever you use, note that a 2 x 2 rib tends to provide the most stretch on the whole cuff. The longer your ribbed cuff, the more stretch you get.
Fancy cuffs, like picot or cable, aren't as stretchy. Keep in mind as well that, tight socks don't necessarily mean that they will stay up on your leg. A right-fitting sock, not too tight or too loose, will stay up while being worn.
8. Stitch Pattern: This is the fun part. If you're breaking away from a written pattern, consider using a stitch dictionary as inspiration for your own designs. Go with a pattern repeat that works evenly with the total number of stitches (if you have 60 total stitches, then chose a pattern with a repeat of 5 or 10 stitches).
9. How Many at a Time: As mentioned above, you can use an extra-long circular needle to knit both socks at the same time, which ensures the socks will be identical (or at least as close as possible).
Emily shared a great list of resources for sock knitting:
Thank you, Emily, for a great presentation!
We had yet another gorgeous Show and Tell, including those by new members - Welcome! We love seeing new members, newer knitters, and visitors share their projects.
Catch us next time, March 11th, for the Stitch & Stir podcast with Emme and Samantha where they will be recording a show.
We kicked off 2019 with Renate Yerkes of Elephino PDX inspiring us to try out Double Knitting. If your goal for this year is to learn something new, take some guidance from the wonderful Renate! We also had a tip for those resolving organize their knit notions and some amazing show and tells!
Rose Haven Charity Knitting
At Puddletown, we see knitters as making a positive impact on our community. One of the ways we do this is by coming together as a community with our charity knitting projects. This year we'll be teaming up with Rose Haven.
Rose Haven is a day shelter and community center serving women, children and gender non-conforming folks experiencing the trauma of abuse, loss of home and other disruptive life challenges. Rose Haven’s mission is to maintain a safe, respectful community while providing our guests with support and services to assist them in regaining stability in their lives.
We want to give hand knit blankets made with machine-washable yarn to Rose Haven. Children love carrying around blankies for comfort, and adults benefit much from a nice lap blanket. Annette, our Program co-chair, showed us an example of a finished blanket. An easy way to make one is to knit a 36-inch long strip 6 to 10 inches wide for a quick knit, gather up more similarly gauged 36-inch strips, and stitch them together. Garter stitch is perfectly acceptable! It's a great way to bust your stash of acrylic yarns.
It's a great opportunity to collaborate with friends. Three or four knitters can knit their strips, gather for a stitch-up-the-strips party, and create a blanket in no time.
As you finish blankets, please bring them to meetings for Annette to collect.
If you find yourself sorting through tangles of circular needs, wondering if you even have the size you need for a project, consider an artful way to display your needles in an accessible way.
Angela, PKG Communications Chair, was inspired by designer Bristol Ivy, Angela used items she already had sitting around - a cork board, binder clips, and T-pins - to create a super simple place for her circulars. Organize in a way that works for you! Angela ordered hers from smallest to largest by top to bottom, left to right. She even found a place for a handy needle sizer/gauge ruler.
Using a cork board instead of affixing binder clips directly to your wall allows you more versatility, especially if you relocate often. Lastly, the cork board was hand-painted for fun. You could also wrap a cool fabric around your cork board or go au naturale.
What knitting notions organization tips do you have? If you'd like to share yours to the group at a meeting, email us!
Program: More the Two Sides to This Story: The Dynamic World of Double Knitting
Designer, teacher, and fashion maven Renate Yerkes (Elephino PDX) walked us through an overview, history, and some inspiration on Double Knitting, an emerging technique that yields a dense, warm, two-sided knit.
Renate says: The technique of ‘double knitting’ is essentially this; two layers of interwoven fabric produced simultaneously by knitting in a 1 x 1 rib pattern while alternating the knit and purl stitches between two contrasting colors, or even textures, of yarn. This results in a reversible piece with a Stockinette fabric on both sides, each side featuring the same motif with the inverse play of colors or textured yarns being used.
Double Knitting: A Rich History
This no-waste, two-for-one technique has an unclear history like much of knitting. Renate found a passage in Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace that describes a magic-like method of knitting two socks at the same time using a technique like that of double knitting. That was the 19th century. By the 1970s, machine-made, double-knit jacquard clothing was on trend. By the 1990s, it was certainly not on trend, as per Will Smith's lyric from "Parents Just Don't Understand":
Mom, please put back the bell-bottom Brady Bunch trousers
But if you don't want to I can live with that but
You gotta put back the double-knit reversible slacks
Renate Yerkes is at the forefront of what could be the next trend in knitting. Brioche, a type of double-sided knitting, has received a lot of attention since Nancy Marchant's book Knitting Brioche: The Essential Guide to the Brioche Stitch. Double knitting is just as if not more thick and cushier than its ribbed cousin.
Tips for Double Knitting
Why do you see a lot of accessories in double knit, but not sweaters? The interwoven construction makes it a little tricky for things like shoulder seams. Three-needle bind off doesn't work so well, either. Scarfs, cowls, and hats lend themselves well to Double Knitting.
Renate shared an ingenious way to keep your yarn from tangling as you knit. Much like stranded color work, two or or more strands of yarn are used in a row, and as you switch colors, the strands can become twisted. Renate places her yarns on a lazy Susan. To untangle, all you have to do is turn the lazy Susan clockwise once. Mind blown.
Get Started with Double Knitting
Renate is probably one of the best places to start to venture into Double Knitting!
Members and guests also had the chance to pick up a print out of a Puddletown exclusive pattern "Love Me a Scrubby" generously written and given to us by Renate!
If you take up Double Knitting, please do bring your projects to Show and Tell, share them on our Ravelry group, and tag Puddletown and Renate (@elephinoPDX on Insta) in your social media posts. We'd love to see them!
Show and Tell and Raffle
As usual, and always welcome, we had a line of magnificent finished objects, including a truly amazing double-knit circle scarf inspired by the One Ring of Lord of the Rings. Will the maker of that, please stand up? We'd love to feature it!
We had three lovely little raffles to get you started on selfish knitting or spinning this month.
Join us next month, February 14th, when Emily Devlin teaches us about sock anatomy!
Our last meeting of 2018 brought us one of our favorite business members, Brooklyn Tweed, to talk about the experience of working with the local, breed-specific yarn company. We also had an amazing giveaway and a some tips on how to save your precious woolies from moths.
Jeff from Ohana Pest Control shared his professional tips for keeping your woolies well.
Scents like peppermint, cedar, lavender, and mothballs deter moths from laying eggs in your yarn and knitwear.
If you bring home natural fibers from a thrift store or yard sale, store them in your freezer for at least 12 hours before integrating them into your stash.
Program: The Brooklyn Tweed Experience
Every detail of Brooklyn Tweed, how they source their materials, craft designs, and the feel of a blocked swatch, reflects a certain kind of passion. Customer and Community Relations expert Jamie visited us to talk about the story and experience of one of our favorite business members.
Where Did Brooklyn Tweed Begin?
Its namesake comes from the New York City borough where founder Jared Flood first started a blog about his knitting adventures. With a reverence to Elizabeth Zimmerman, he became obsessed with knitting and yarn making, soon having one of his designs on the cover of Vogue Knitting.
How the Yarn Gets Made
Brooklyn Tweed 's mission is to "develop and manufacture breed-specific yarns that support domestic textile production—designing, sourcing, dyeing and spinning our yarns within the USA." Jamie took us on a quick journey from sheep to skein.
What Is It Like Designing for Brooklyn Tweed?
With a team of expert knitwear designers like Gudrun Johnston and Norah Gaughan, Brooklyn Tweed patterns get a lot of love. To create collections like Wool People, the design team gathers for a retreat in which to deep dive into brainstorming and developing. Sounds like a dream, right? From there, design and marketing coordinators work with Jared and company to bring new patterns to you.
To show their appreciation, Brooklyn Tweed brought mini skeins of Peerie for each member. When you knit it up, be sure to bring your FO to Show and Tell! Thank you to Brooklyn Tweed for a wonderful program.
Show and Tell and Our Raffle
Our members make the most amazing things. This gorgeous lace shawl was knit by a member (on the far right with the mic - holler at us so we can properly acknowledge you!) for her wedding.
Emme Von, co-host of the Stitch and Stir podcast and March program co-guest, won a blanket's worth of Noro in our raffle. Yes, you read that right.
Join us in 2019 for a review of Double Knitting by Renate Yerkes!
Missives from the fabulous women who got the ball (of yarn) rolling.